Week 2: The Good, The Bad, The Ugly

Been super busy with moving, so here’s the weekly recap.

The good:

The center tendu combination (2 tendus devant croisse, change arms to arabesque, two tendus derriere, then change facing to ecarte and efface, 2 glissades changing feet, and do the other side) is coming along nicely.

At the barre, my beated frappes have finally been improving. We do single frappes en croix, then beated frappes en croix, then beated frappes a la seconde, then petit battements. It’s been getting a little bit easier to not mess up, or if I do mess up to just keep going.

My arm-leg coordination has been improving as well.  We do this pique combination (2 piques devant, 2 piques a la seconde, 2 piques derriere, brush leg through en cloche, then reverse, then 1 pique devant, a la seconde, and derriere, and brush leg en cloche and reverse) with arms and my arms are finally arriving at the same time as the legs. Now I got to work on my hand not looking tensed up.

We learned how to do this cool thing at barre: We developpe devant, then fondu, and quckly switch sides so that we’re facing the opposite direction with our leg out in arabesque behind us.  The first time we tried this F Teacher just had us turn to a la seconde, which was easier.  Turning to arabesque was not as difficult as it looked, though there is a lot of little details involved – changing arms, not dropping the leg from the original height, not falling over…but it is a somewhat impressive-looking move.

My passe releve in center is more stable than ever. F Teacher called on me to do it and I was so nervous but I did it! She corrected me on landing smoothly in a plie in fifth possition instead of just letting myself fall out of it (as I did the first time, since I was a little startled to be on the spot).

We learned a jump in center. F Teacher called it a jete – jump and bring the back leg forward, the other foot goes to coupe.  At first I was a little alarmed, but it turned out to be perfectly do-able.

My glissades a la seconde are getting better and smoother, and foot-pointed-er (is that even a word? lol). As long as we’re only doing glissades and not mixing it up with other steps I’m good..

Across the floor 4 pique turns, 4 chaines, chasse, saute arabesque. F Teacher complimented me, said “You got it! Good for you!”. I think that is the happiest I’ve ever seen her at me. I’d be lying if I said that I felt anything short of amazing at the time 🙂

The bad:

Grand battement derriere is still nowhere as high as a la seconde or even devant.

I still don’t have a clean single pirouette en dehors on either leg. I’m pretty sure spotting is the problem, though I haven’t had much time to practice outside of class due to this whole moving thing. The good news is that we’re going to start working on pirouettes en dedans as well, and those have always felt much more “natural” to me than en dehors, so hopefully things will be looking up.

My quickness in petite allegro is still not there. I can perform all the jumps and steps if we do it in half time but quickly it just becomes a jumbled up mess.  If only I had superb balance I could just say “Well, I’m an adagio dancer…”

I’m not even thinking about doing beated jumps yet. F Teacher has us working on this scissor jump (not a sissone, just saute from a la second, close legs in the air, and land in a la second) at the barre, and it still feels awkward. I love how she pushes us but not to the extreme in a dangerous, you-may-hurt-yourself way.

Despite my technical improvement, I worry that I suck at ballet, and may always suck. That I don’t truly dance, just make pretty movements – and sometimes ugly movements – but without really following the music. I used to believe that musicality comes after attaining technical proficiency, but now I’m wondering if that is something that one is supposed to be working on all along. Perhaps some of us don’t even have it? (Which would be such a dissappointment, though I’ll keep trying).  F Teacher says that you must make it interesting to watch, or else the audience gets bored. I worry that I’m boring to watch, though I do manage to entertain myself in the mirror (hope that didn’t sound super egocentric).

The ugly:

My sissone into assemble, or my glissade into assemble. Basically, anything involving an assemble! Seriously though, I just don’t get how to assemble (I read this blog article that said a dance student should never say “I don’t get it” but that’s exactly how I feel about it, so I’m gonna say it, lol – just not to my teacher!). I get it intellectually, but communicating it to my legs is challenging!

As for sissones, I can do them if we’re practicing and it’s no pressure.  The second we go across the floor in pairs I freeze up and then produce some sort of flailing-legs-in-the-air motion – it was bad! Then, when no one’s looking I’m sissone-ing again. I tested this theory out at home briefly. Told boyfriend “Look at me!” and tried to sissone assemble and flailed around.  Collected myself, took a deep breath, thought nice and hard about what I was about to do, and then I did it. So I think I can definitely fix this issue, just got to make the movements more muscle memory and less thinking. Just needs time…


Either it’s selective memory (I hope that’s not the case), but it seems that I have more good things listed than bad or ugly… I’ve been having a great time taking class this often, so much fun! I love how in this class we do longish combinations because it feels like we’re really dancing.  I think my dancing has improved tremendously in this short time.  However, I will avoid thinking ‘How much would I improve if I could take class this often all the time?’ because that will just make me sad that it’s not possible.  For now, I’m just enjoying myself and this opportunity.

4 thoughts on “Week 2: The Good, The Bad, The Ugly

  1. ladysquadron

    It’s always lovely reading about your ballet classes and all the techniques! Frankly, I can’t glissade! I can kind of get assemble – but not glissade. We need to swap for a day! Heh. (I also haven’t learnt / can’t do probably 99% of all the things you mentioned above.. but I’m going to work at it 🙂 )

    1. kit Post author

      Thanks! 🙂 I’m glad to hear you enjoy reading about my classes.
      Well, when I said my glissades were getting better, I meant to the side (a la seconde?). F Teacher introduced glissades to the front and back and I had no idea what I was doing! To add further challenge, she said these front and back glissades can be done either fast or slow for a totally different feel, and I was just like “What..?!”
      That’s cool you’ve figured out assemble, though. I will continue working on it 🙂

    2. ladysquadron

      Wow, I don’t even know of glissades to the front or back! Assemble … I dunno, mine still looks rather dubious to me (am thinking my feet should look more pointed when they sweep out and I need to do a proper fifth jump)..but at least my feet are doing something. Gotta work on getting my feet to do something for glissade too. Heh.

      1. kit Post author

        Yeah, I hadn’t known of glissades to the front and back’s existance until about 30 second before we were expected to do it in a combination! I would take some assembles without pointed feet over the mess I’m currently doing in class.
        Glissades are quite tricky though. I remember for a while there I couldn’t even do one without feeling like I was about to fall over! Now I can do them – as long as it’s a fairly simple combination. Anything quick and I’m ramdomly kicking the air again, lol.

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